This richly illustrated lecture focuses on the very long history of our species’ relationship with our best friends. Much of the talk will be devoted to dogs in the great art of the Western world and especially to the interests of artists in the dog’s gaze — how dogs look. The broader context is the co-evolutionary development of dogs and human and, more specifically, Darwin’s intense interest in canines generally and in his beloved Polly in particular. Cats will not be entirely ignored.
Thomas Laqueur began teaching at Berkeley in 1973 after studying at Swarthmore, Princeton, and Oxford. A specialist in the cultural history of modern Europe, Laqueur is a founding editor of the journal Representations and a former director of the Doreen B. Townsend Center of the Humanities. His work — translated into fifteen languages — has focused on the history of popular religion and literacy; on the history the body, alive and dead; and on the history of death and memory. His most recent book, The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Moral Remains, was published by Princeton in 2015. He also writes regularly for the London Review of Books, the Threepenny Review, The Guardian, and other journals. In 2007, Laqueur won a $1.5 million Mellon Distinguished Humanist Award.